Anniston Army Depot, Ala., held a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Dec. 18 commemorating the opening of its 18,000-square-foot, multi-million-dollar Child Development Center. A brief program was presented by the Directorate of Community and Family Activities staff with Depot Commander Col. S. B. Keller as the guest speaker. "Anniston Army Depot is prepared to provide the best quality care to the greatest assets parents can have - our children," she said to an audience of depot family, staff members, educators, community leaders, and media representatives. Though the soil was turned seven months ago as construction began, the progress has been steady and the dream has become a reality. "Today, the depot joins the Army\'s Child and Youth Services family in continuing this tradition of excellence," Keller continued. "When we can provide superior care for these children, the Soldier or civilian employee - either government or contractor - can fully concentrate on their mission knowing well that their children are safe and are in quality learning and developmental programs." The new building will provide employees with child care options and can accommodate up to 161 children ranging in ages from six weeks to 10 years of age. "It is marvelous that an installation that is primarily civilian receive a center," said Kris Henn, family and MWR coordinator at the Army Materiel Command, who was among the visiting guests in attendance. "This says a lot about where the Army is going and the support it provides for our Soldiers and civilians." Cutting the ribbon at the facility, along with Keller were Jim Webb, director of Community and Family Activities and JoAnne Amundson, CDC director. "This is a great day for us all in that it heralds the beginning of the CYS program on the depot," Amundson said. "Ensuring quality child care programs that are both affordable and available to Army families is a high priority. Indeed, it is the objective of CYS to sustain its acclaim as a model for the nation for America's child care." Fees are subsidized by the Department of Defense and calculated on a tiered scale based on total family income. Fees for the 2008 year ranges from a minimum of $196 to a maximum of $486 for full-time monthly care for one child, and are subject to change based on cost-of-living adjustments. Though the doors don't actually swing open on a full-time basis until later this quarter pending mandated inspections, the highly dedicated and qualified staff of approximately 20 professionals is eager to assist. Holiday schedule During the Christmas holiday break, the CDC operated on a limited basis, providing care for school-aged children. Activities included arts, crafts, movies, and field trips to the Anniston Museum of Natural History and the Berman Museum. According to Amundson, this helped to prepare the staff for more of what is yet to come. "The staff and children alike had a blast learning from each other, while offering guidance, educational opportunities and having fun," she said.